For 10 years Hilda Hamilton has honored the tragic passing of one of her grandchildren by organizing a Christmas event to provide for those that otherwise might not be able to share gifts with their family.
The 10th annual Storm’s Christmas Blessing will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (or until the gifts run out) Saturday, Dec. 7 at New Life Church and Ministries on SR 247, just south of Hillsboro.
“She’ll never have a voice and this was God’s way of showing me that she would,” said Hamilton, who organizes the event in memory of a twin granddaughter that passed way in her arms 12 hours after the little girl was born. “Last year, I had a couple kids come in and smile at me, and I could hear, as plain as day, Storm saying, ‘Grandma, can you hear me now?’ It’s just a blessing to be able to do this.”
In its first year, Storm’s Christmas Blessing provided 42 children with gloves and hats. But it has grown each year, and the past two years toys, clothes and more have been provided for more than 500 children.
This year, parents will be able to pick out one or two gifts for each of their children — depending on the number of donations — plus choose from hats, gloves, coats, socks and scarves. Once they’re done shopping the parents will also receive cookies and candy canes for their children.
In addition, there will be an area where kids can pick out a gift for their parents, and someone will read the story of the birth of Jesus to them.
A weekly community lunch of chili and hot dogs will be served at the church during the hours of the Christmas event.
It all started in August of 2009. Hamilton was already stunned to learn that her son’s wife was going into labor after just 25 weeks of pregnancy. The twins were both delivered alive, but their chance of survival did not look good. They weighed less than one pound each. Their eyes were still fused shut and their skin was transparent. They had tubes and wires running everywhere.
Hamilton, a Hillsboro resident for 25 years and member of New Life Church and Ministries since 2008, started praying.
The babies, named Storm and Skye, were rushed to Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“They were in a fight for their lives,” Hamilton said. “Both had two doctors, two nurses and four other staff members assigned to them. Storm was worse off. She tried so hard to breathe. Storm’s little heart would stop and they would start it again and again. All we could do was stand there and watch. Most of all we prayed.”
Storm died in her grandmother’s arms when she was just 12 hours old.
A few days after Storm was buried, Hamilton and her family found out that Storm had actually saved Skye’s life. Drugs, Hamilton said, had gone through Storm’s body first and she acted like a filter for Skye.
“That one had to die so the other could live is extremely sad, and it was one of the worst times of my life,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton was angry. In fact, she said that if it wasn’t for the church and pastor Linda Bowman and Linda’s husband Bill Bowman, she doesn’t think she would have made it. But she eventually overcame her anger and decided to turn it into something positive. In 2010, the inaugural Storm’s Christmas Blessing was launched.
At first it was just a gloves and hats ministry. But it has grown into much more.
“It’s for anybody with a child that needs Christmas,” Hamilton said.
While few questions are asked, Hamilton said the church reserves the right to ask parents for proof of their children.
Those requesting gifts will line up and be brought into the church building five to 10 at a time on a first-come, first-served basis.
Donations are being accepted up until the start of the event. They can be dropped off at the church, or for more information call Hamilton at 937-205-0123 or Linda Bowman at 937-402-1429.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.